National PTA Statement on Senate FY2019 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Aug. 23, 2018)—The following statement can be attributed to National PTA President Jim Accomando:

“This evening, the U.S. Senate passed a spending bill that would fund labor, health and human services and education programs for Fiscal Year 2019. The bill includes a $541 million increase in funding for public education overall. It also dedicates $10 million for the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program as well as includes $125 million increase for the Title IV-A block grant, which provides funding to states to support safe and health students, provide students with a well-rounded education and support effective use of technology in schools.

“While National PTA is pleased that funding is increased for public education overall as well as allocated for family engagement in education, our association is disappointed that the bill does not include an amendment introduced by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) that would have clarified and ensured that Title IV-A funds cannot be used to purchase guns or provide firearm training for educators. The Title IV-A block grant helps schools provide students with important resources, such as comprehensive mental health programs and drug, violence and bullying prevention programs, and is not intended to be used to put guns in schools.

“National PTA believes the most effective day-to-day school climate is a gun-free campus—which includes not arming teachers and administrators. Teachers and administrators are there to educate our children and should not be acting as armed security in classrooms. Our association opposes any attempt to use federal funds to arm or provide firearm training for educators.

“National PTA urges Congress to enact a legislative solution in the appropriations process that ensures schools have the resources and capacity to provide a positive and healthier environment for all students. It is critical that Title IV-A funding is not diverted away from essential student support services to put guns in schools.

“National PTA’s board of directors adopted a new position statement on safe and supportive schools during its August board meeting. The statement outlines our association’s belief that teachers and administrators should not be armed and calls for a multi-faceted approach to address school safety that involves all stakeholders, especially students, parents and families.”

About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.

Media Contact
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA
hmay@pta.org, (703) 518-1242


JC/DC Action Alert from National PTA

Please contact your Senators NOW!  This is an urgent matter and we need all our voices advocating with the same message: Oppose the use of these funds to arm teachers and support Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) amendment prohibiting the use of Title IV-A funds to arm teachers.

Please read the full letter from National PTA below, familiarizing yourself with PTA’s Position Statement on Safe and Supportive Schools.

Don’t forget to call your Senator today!

For ALL children,

Kristina Wilmoth
VP Legislation & Advocacy
Missouri PTA

 

Dear Public Education Advocate,

Right now, the U.S. Department of Education is considering a proposal that would allow money that was intended to be used for mental health services and bullying prevention to be used to purchase guns. These funds under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are designed to provide resources to support ongoing mental health and drug and violence prevention programs, not the one-time purchase of firearms.

Time is of the essence as the Senate is considering legislation today on this matter, so we ask that you urgently send a letter to your Senators urging them to oppose the use of these funds to arm teachers and support Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) amendment that would prohibit the use of Title IV-A funds to arm teachers.

All you need to do is click on the “Take Action” button below to send a letter to your Senators. Thank you for your continued support to protect students and our nation’s schools.

For more information on National PTA’s position on school safety, please check out our position statement on Safe and Supportive Schools.
Thank you,
National PTA


Raise the Age SB 793 passed!


It’s all because of YOU!

SB 793, also known as #RaiseTheAgeMO, passed by a nearly-unanimous vote!  This bill changes the the age from 17 to 18 at which youth are automatically charged as adults.

Previously, Missouri law incarcerated children who were charged as adults in adult prisons.  While they have been charged with serious offences, these children have not yet been convicted of a crime. SB 793 requires children to be prosecuted in juvenile courts unless the child is certified as an adult or is being prosecuted for a traffic or curfew violation. Additionally, the bill specifies that no person under the age of 18 may be detained in an adult jail unless the person has been certified as an adult. This bill does NOT change the ability of the court to certify youth as adults for heinous crimes and hold these offenders in adult facilities.

“This is a good decision that is both obvious (better age-appropriate treatment, protection from the extreme dangers of incarceration with adults) and far-reaching (reduced recidivism, increased employment). It will bring with it long-term economic benefits for the state as a whole.

When the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, Missouri will join 45 states and Washington, D.C., that consider 18 the age of criminal responsibility.” -Kansas City Star May 28, 2018

Thank you to all who sent emails, calls, and advocated on social media. You made a difference for Missouri youth!

For all children,

Kristina Wilmoth, Vice President Legislation & Advocacy


JC/DC Action Alert: Gun Violence Prevention

This Friday, 6/1/2018, is Gun Violence Awareness Day.  National PTA is a partner in Everytown for Gun Safety’s Wear Orange Weekend, a weekend where people all over the country will show their support for gun violence prevention both online and at community events.

Missouri PTA encourages all of our membership to take a picture of yourself in your orange and post on social media using the hashtags #PTAProud #Enough and #EndGunViolence.  Make sure you tag Missouri PTA and National PTA so we can share the message nationally.

I think National PTA said it best in their position statement.

“School safety is a critical priority for all parents, educators, students and community members that cannot be taken for granted. We must make every attempt to reduce violence, especially incidents that involve firearms. National PTA recognizes the importance of parent involvement in the decision-making process in the development and implementation of school safety policies, including crisis response plans.
National PTA recognizes the importance of a safe learning environment in attaining the highest level of student learning and achievement. National PTA believes the most effective day-to-day school climate to be gun-free but defers to local collaborative decision-making to allow for the presence of law enforcement deployed in community-oriented policing.”

Join me and PTA advocates around the country this weekend and wear orange!  Show your support for gun violence prevention and share your story!

For every child,

Kristina Wilmoth, VP Legislation & Advocacy
Missouri PTA

Resources:
https://wearorange.org/about/
MOPTA.org
PTA.org


***JC/DC Alert CALL and EMAIL TODAY! Session ends at 6:00 pm today, May 18th. Please call NOW! ***

Missouri legislators may soon be considering separate tax bills that would make Missouri’s tax system even more unfair and would take away critical resources our communities need to prosper. These cuts include funding for public schools. Missouri PTA opposes any measure that would take away funding for schools in Missouri. The loss of revenue generated from individual income tax is a large portion of funding for Missouri schools. Without quality schools it will be hard to attract new businesses and may even cause the loss of existing businesses, which hurts all of Missouri.

 Contact your legislators today to let them know you OPPOSE this bill.

The irresponsible tax giveaways included in SB 884 far outweigh the positive changes they include.

Lawmakers are set to give a huge tax break to profitable corporations while undermining our ability to fund schools, health, roads, and other things Missourians need.

Yesterday, the House approved a massive corporate tax cut, once again putting corporate profit margins before people.

The House approved an amended version of Senate Bill 884, which would cut Missouri’s corporate income tax by more than one-third, taking it from 6.25% to just 3.9%.  If approved, Missouri would have the second lowest corporate income tax rate in the nation.

Year after year, lawmakers have chosen costly tax cuts aimed at profitable corporations and the richest households, and yet Missouri has little to show for it except an inability to adequately support the building blocks of our state’s economy.

 Cutting the Corporate Income Tax rate will predominantly help large out-of-state businesses and their out-of-state shareholders.

Legislators should put people first. Instead of rushing a poorly constructed tax measure through at the tail-end of the legislative session, lawmakers would be better off to take advantage of a proven strategy and approve of the Working Families Credit-EITC.

Thirty states and the District of Columbia have similar state-level credits, which have proven to have lasting benefits, particularly in the educational, health and economic outcomes for children.

What’s more, this ill-conceived corporate tax giveaway is being considered at the same time that Missouri is unable to afford basic services and infrastructure that our communities, families and economy need to prosper.

Missouri already ranks well below other states in terms of the services it provides its residents. Recent budget cuts have diminished those services further, and the continued phasing in of 2014’s tax cuts will likely make the situation even more dire. The bill passed by the House would be another big step in the wrong direction.

Not only have services been cut over the last decade, each year they compete against each other for more limited increases. Services for our grandparents are pitted against services for our children; and education competes against transportation needs.

Moreover, Missouri’s budget struggle is likely to worsen due to the implementation of the 2014 Kansas-like tax cuts that are still being phased-in. When fully implemented, the 2014 tax cuts will reduce state revenue by $720 million per year – the equivalent of all mental health services in Missouri.

Schools are already struggling in part due to gaps in the budget created by the passage of SB 641 and SB 1025 in 2016. When Missouri is unable to fully fund its portion of schools every district and every child suffers. This can be felt most strongly in districts that are struggling to pay for the cost of education due to lowering property values and tax revenue. The corporate tax is vital to these schools to help to make the playing field level for all Missouri children no matter the school district.

There are a few districts in Missouri that will be better able to adjust to such a loss in income. However, what about the districts that cannot? There are several districts that already have cut music and extra-curricular activities out of their budget. They already have had to lay off support staff and may have to eventually lay off teachers. How are those schools going to be competitive with the schools that are better able to make up for decrease in funding? The further lack of funds that the loss of income tax would create a greater disparity between school districts.

Furthermore, with an educated population comes a qualified work force. This work force will help attract new businesses to Missouri. These new businesses in turn create new employment opportunities for Missourians. If we cannot fully invest in education we dissolve the very force that will propel Missouri onward. The children of Missouri deserve to have an equal chance no matter from which district they attend. We need to ensure they have career opportunities waiting for them to encourage them to stay in Missouri. Please tell your Representative and Senator to vote NO to SB 884.

Tell your legislators to oppose these bills.

Dear Representative or Senator,

Missouri PTA opposes any measure that would take away funding for schools in Missouri. The loss of revenue generated from individual income tax is a large portion of funding for Missouri schools. Without quality schools it will be hard to attract new businesses and may even cause the loss of existing businesses, which hurts all of Missouri.

 In the current fiscal year, the tax is budgeted to reduce $720 million for the general revenue budget. These cuts would come at a time when Missouri is already struggling to meet its budget needs due to previously enacted tax changes and would require additional and steep cuts to services including education.

 Schools are already struggling in part due to gaps in the budget created by the passage of SB 641 and SB 1025 in 2016. When Missouri is unable to fully fund its portion of schools every district and every child suffers. This can be felt most strongly in districts that are struggling to pay for the cost of education due to lowering property values and tax revenue. The corporate tax is vital to these schools to help to make the playing field level for all Missouri children no matter the school district.

There are a few districts in Missouri that will be better able to adjust to such a loss in income. However, what about the districts that cannot? There are several districts that already have cut music and extra-curricular activities out of their budget. They already have had to lay off support staff and may have to eventually lay off [i]teachers. How are those schools going to be competitive with the schools that are better able to make up for decrease in funding? We have seen several schools across Missouri lose accreditation and the fall out of students moving to other districts. The further lack of funds that the loss of income tax would create a greater disparity between school districts. This will severely impair how students can be accepted into colleges and how schools will be able to attract quality staff.

Furthermore, with an educated population comes a qualified work force. This work force will help attract new businesses to Missouri. These new businesses in turn create new employment opportunities for Missourians. If we cannot fully invest in education we dissolve the very force that will propel Missouri onward. The children of Missouri deserve to have an equal chance no matter from which district they attend. We need to ensure they have career opportunities waiting for them to encourage them to stay in Missouri. Please tell your Senator to vote NO SB 884.

Sincerely,

 Your Name
PTA Unit

 

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Kristina Wilmoth
VP and Director of Legislation and Advocacy
kristinaw@mopta.org